Right before the January transfer window closed, Mamelodi Sundowns moved for forward Emiliano Tade from AmaZulu. How has he done so far for Pitso Mosimane’s side and can the Argentine forward fire next season?
At the time of his move, Tade was impressing in South African football as he forged a very good strike partnership with target man Bongi Ntuli at AmaZulu. The latter would hold the ball up and set up chances for the Argentine to strike shots at goal or take opponents on with his dribbling.
By the end of January, he was the most frequent long-range shooter in the PSL, hitting 2.2 from shots from distance per 90 minutes, whilst also making a very strong 3.7 attempts per game to dribble past an opponent. He netted five goals in his six months at Usuthu.
At Sundowns, Tade has struggled for regular opportunities, despite scoring on his debut in the CAF Champions League against ASEC Mimosas, just two days after joining the club. However, he didn’t play a single minute in either of the quarter-finals or semi-finals of that competition. In the PSL, he was not used in four of the final five matches as Sundowns lifted the title. When the big games came around, Mosimane used his trusted attacking players and Tade has to make do with a watching brief.
His lone goal in the league was a strike against Maritzburg United from Lebohang Maboe’s assist, and in the 2-1 away defeat to Cape Town City, he assisted Maboe’s early strike and set up three other clear openings which teammates spurned. The duo’s understanding was promising in those early outings.
With talk from Pitso Mosimane that he needs a genuine number nine for next season, competition for minutes could get tougher for Tade. Although he has played as number ten since joining the club, an addition up front could see Maboe drop back into an attacking midfield role, whilst Sibusiso Vilakazi’s return from long-term injury means there is significant competition for the roles behind the striker. Phakamani Mahlambi scored the goal to win the league title and will also surely be pushing for more regular opportunities in his second season with Masandawana.
However, with Sundowns set to enjoy their first full preseason in several years thanks to the change in the CAF Champions League calendar, Tade will get time to work with the technical team on the training ground and with Maboe, Vilakazi and Themba Zwane all going to the 2019 AFCON, Tade could play significant minutes in preseason friendlies as that trio arrive back late. This could give Tade the chance he needs to try to earn a starting place next season.
Do you think Tade will make himself a first-choice starting player next season? Can he bring the form he showed at AmaZulu to Sundowns? Let us know by commenting below.